As a child, did you ever hear the quote, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question?” This is a lie. Young people saunter into interviews, lectures and social situations with a bravado built upon notions that your curiosity can never be at fault. Asking incipient questions during interviews can kill your chances at employment. Being tactless while socializing can lose your friends and potential connections.
In your daily life, you are responsible for what you say. As an entrepreneur, the value of your words increases exponentially. Your attitude, intelligence, ambition and courage are constantly tested in entrepreneurship. People, particularly investors, watch how you speak, interact with and handle conflict with others. It’s no longer about “being a decent human being,” but “your competency depends on what you have to say.”
Are you feeling the pressure? If so, don’t fret. Here are eight questions that entrepreneurs should never ask!
1. What’s an entrepreneur?
If you call yourself an innovator or a small business owner, you should know what entrepreneurship is. So-called entrepreneurs should never ask this question.
2. What do you think of my business?
Confidence is key in any business setting. Insecurely approaching a meeting with potential investors is a terrible idea. You set yourself up for failure if you don’t believe in the merit of your own ideas. It’s okay to be nervous, but you should be the biggest believer in your company. To ask a potential investor if they think your concepts are worth their time is akin to searching for trouble.
3. Do you think my company will fail?
This is a question no one can answer. With solid concepts, hard work and dedicated investors, your company should prevail. Entrepreneurs are allowed to have this concern, but it should never leave the privacy of your own team or trusted ones. Presenting a strong facade is important for every company. You aren’t required to be self-assured at all times, but your reputation says a lot about you. Unfortunately, business owners are required to keep their vulnerability behind closed doors.
4. What’s a cover letter?
Entrepreneurs should never ask this question. There doesn’t need to be any reason other than that. As an innovator, if you don’t know how to sell yourself on paper; you won’t have much luck in real life. If you’ve never written a cover letter, how do you have enough experience to own a company?
5. What’s the point of interns?
Internships are a bridge into the working world. They assist students with building their resumes, creating connections and teaching young employees how to manage others. Internships are all about growth, and every start-up company needs them. The first few months of any business are strife with long hours, endless complications and stress headaches. Running an intern program alongside a new company sounds ludicrous, but the help interns can offer you is priceless. They obtain real-world experience, and you don’t have to worry about scheduling appointments. Many entrepreneurs started off as lowly interns. Biting the hand that fed you is never a smart idea.
6. Why do I need to talk to people?
Long story short, entrepreneurs are nothing without connections, consumers and investors. Money doesn’t appear out of thin air. Connecting with people is the first step to being a successful entrepreneur. Lacking the means is typical of a burgeoning innovator, but lacking social skills is nearly unheard of. Business relies on interpersonal relationships. Trust and exchange are important aspects of the entrepreneurial game.
7. How do I make lots of money?
While entrepreneurship is a branch of business, your focus should be on innovation instead of money. The desire to make a living off of your creative pursuits is logical, but when monetary gain is the focal point of your company, you risk losing the value of consumer relationships, quality business and creative freedom. There are set formulas to how people make money, but you left a corporate setting to escape the restraints of running a business that way. Entrepreneurs should never ask questions that cause potential investors to doubt their motives.
8. Am I better than other entrepreneurs?
Comparing yourself to others in your respective field is natural, but your competition should be based on the quality of your own products and services; not on your skill in relation to your competitors. Entrepreneurs should never ask if they’re better than others. It’s your job to communicate to consumers and investors that you are better without compromising your personal integrity.
There are many questions entrepreneurs should never ask. This list only taps the surface of entrepreneurial taboo. Use your sense of discretion to determine when you should or shouldn’t ask a question. Be aware of how your words can be interpreted. Remain confident and straightforward when dealing with others.
Charles Crawford is a high level marketer who helped many dentists, like Dr. Brown, to dominate their niche through applying marketing tactics that work. He cofounded Crawford and O’Brien LLC, a Phoenix SEO Company, in 2012.
Image credit: CC by Rennett Stowe